Cabinet to discuss request to rename Thinadhoo next week

The cabinet will discuss a request by the council of Thinadhoo in Gaaf Dhaal Atoll to rename the island ‘Havaru Thinadhoo’ at its meeting next week, Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair confirmed today.

Zuhair said that legal advice has been sought following the request and that the cabinet will make a decision at its next meeting on Tuesday, August 3.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Thinadhoo Council Chair Ahmed Naseer said that the council sent a letter requesting the name change to President Mohamed Nasheed because “a lot of citizens asked it of us.”

“For hundreds of years the island was called Havaru Thinadhoo,” he explained. “And when the name was changed by former President Maumoon [Abdul Gayoom] in 1979, no reason was given for that decision and it was not requested by the people of Thinadhoo, either.”

Contrary to popular belief, said Naseer, Thinadhoo did not earn the title ‘Havaru’ for its its part in the short-lived secession of three southern atolls and subsequent depopulation by Prime Minister Ibrahim Nasir on February 4, 1962.

The term ‘Havaru’ originally referred to the six divisions or companies of the public of Male’, which functioned as militia or army units. The word has since earned the connotation of ‘mob.’

In the late 16th century, Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu sent the six militias or the ‘Havaru’ to recapture Thinadhoo upon learning that the islanders had re-converted to Buddhism.

Following their victory, the island was endowed to the six companies, which continued to exact an annual tax from islanders until the practice was abolished by Ibrahim Nasir when he became Prime Minister.

Thinadhoo MP Mohamed Gasam of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) meanwhile suggested that the “best way to decide the name change” would be through a public referendum.

“Some people in Thinadhoo want the name to be changed but others want it to stay the same,” he said. “There is some disagreement about this. We should find out what the people want.”

Councillor Naseer said that he had “no problem” with a referendum, but suggested that an election would be a costly affair.

“I think that even if there is an election [the name change proposition] is very likely to get passed,” said Naseer, who is also a member of the ruling party.

In the local council elections in February, the MDP made a clean sweep of the seven-seat Thinadhoo council.

Ibrahim Nasir International Airport

Thinadhoo Council Chair Naseer however insisted that the council’s request had “no connection whatsoever” to the announcement last week that the Male’ International Airport would be renamed ‘Ibrahim Nasir International Airport’ on Independence Day (July 26) in honour of the former President.

“We had been thinking about sending the letter [requesting the name change] for some time now, long before that announcement” he said, adding that the timing of the council’s letter was a “coincidence.”

MP Gasam meanwhile suggested that the council might have made the request last week as Independence Day would be an auspicious date for the change.

Naseer stressed that the letter to President Nasheed only sought legal advice as well as his opinion: “We would have no problem if the cabinet decided that changing the name would not be the right thing to do,” he said.

Asked about the renaming of the airport due to take place tomorrow, Naseer speculated that “no one who is from Thinadhoo” would support the change as the former President had ordered the “brutal destruction of the island” in 1962.

Meanwhile as the country prepares to celebrate its 46th Independence Day tomorrow – secured by Nasir on July 26, 1965 – local media reports that the former President’s eldest son, Ahmed Nasir, filed a case at the Supreme Court yesterday, appealing a High Court ruling in 1986 to confiscate the property and estates of his father.

The High Court at the time found that Nasir had misappropriated state funds and decided that his property and estates could be sold by the state to recoup the allegedly stolen money.

After resigning in 1978, Nasir moved to Singapore, where he passed away on November 22, 2008, just weeks after his successor Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was ousted in the country’s first multi-party election.

Nasir’s lawyer, “Gnaviyani” Ali Shareef Ibrahim, told Sun Online yesterday that neither the judicial system under Gayoom nor the prevailing political environment 25 years ago made such an appeal possible.

Under the old constitution, which did not feature separation of powers or independent institutions, the President was both head of state and supreme authority on justice, with the power to overrule verdicts and dismiss judges.

The Supreme Court of the Maldives was established in September 2008 following ratification of the new constitution on August 7, 2008.

Shareef explained that Nasir was sentenced in absentia while angry mobs, including school children, were protesting on the streets.

The Nasir family lawyer also alleged in comments made to newspaper Haveeru today that the new administration of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom began selling Nasir’s property before the High Court verdict on January 30, 1986.

“[Proceeds of the sales] were deposited at Nasir’s SBI [State Bank of India] account, which was frozen by the government,” he said. “When the verdict was delivered, they took all the money out.”

Shareef revealed that the appeal was lodged at the Supreme Court in May as regulations gave the highest court of appeal the discretion to hear such cases in spite of the length of time between the original verdict and the appeal.

The elderly lawyer claimed that the previous administration vilified Nasir by “spreading lies to make him out to be an enemy of the country, a mercenary, a corrupt person.”

“The state media was constantly mocking President Nasir and showing all sorts of cartoons of him,” he said. “[Nasir] did not return at the time because he feared for his life.”


10 thoughts on “Cabinet to discuss request to rename Thinadhoo next week”

  1. Its much more appropriate to change the name of Hulhule' to His Excellency Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's name fulhu.

  2. Ahmed Nasir is filing a court case against the State for alleged misappropriation of his father's property.

    Who is going to file cases for damages to the hundreds and thousands of people who either lost their lives or were inhumanely treated by Ibrahim Nasir? Surely, those people deserve justice too!

    I do believe that naming Male International Airport after Ibrahim Nasir is a grave injustice to all those who suffered under his tyranny. There is no doubt that Nasir was a tyrant.

    Much has been made about his contribution to Male International Airport. He may have started the project, but the Airport didn't become what it is today due to just Nasir. Nasir played a small part in it.

    When the British left RAF Gan, Nasir's primary occupation was to sell off as much as he could and pocket the money. He looted RAF Gan and transplanted what he couldn't sell at Hulhule. One example of an expensive item that he pocketed was the ground radar at Gan which the British left intact.

    We also make a lot about how he brought "independence" to the Maldives. He didn't have to "fight" very hard to get independence from the British. A few trips to Ceylon and discussions over cups of tea were all that was required. The British had no great desire to hold on to the Maldives. The whole episode is blown way out of proportion as if Nasir made great personal sacrifices to bring independence to the country.

    The incumbent government seem to have some sort of love affair with all things Ibrahim Nasir. We all should remember him for what he really was; a tyrant.

  3. It is better to change Thilafushi name to Maumoon Abdul Gay Uoom Fushi.

  4. AGREE with Ahmed. Cannot have said any better. Nasir was a tyrant many times worse than Maumoon.

  5. Nasir did a lot of service to this country.Inmy view his biggest service is the introduction of english medium education to Maldives.The next best thing he did was taking control of our economy from the Bumbaa vorahs. Airport,mechanizing fishing vessels, international telecom,tv,radio are also worth mentioning.
    but getting independence from Britain was not an achievement. The impoverished British were looking for a way to give up looking after Maldivian security.Britain by the 1960s was a third rate power and referred to as the sick man of Europe.

  6. True, there is a report published in today's edition of Haveeru that explains the process of embellishing and changing history to suit one's needs.

    While we glorify and romanticize the past to lift our relatives onto a pedestal we often demolish the rightful history of other persons who did as much or more.

    This is hastily done and probably for all the wrong reasons. More childishness and mismanagement from the MDP side. If they get reelected it will be a clear sign that the Maldivian people can still be bought by false promises and small sums of cash.

  7. We can rename Thilafushi as Thila-Maumoon and Hulhumale' as Hulhu-Maumoon..

    Also we can call Father of the Maldives Modern Democracy is President Nasheed I believe...

    Those who deny the above require special care and attention from the country's healthy citizens

  8. Nasir was a tyrant and yes he did some good things for the country. But that was his obligation to do the good things as he was the president. So did Maumoon eventhough he was a dictator. And maumoon did a lot better than Nasir. So why is this government so in love with Nasir and always trying to hide the good things which Maumoon did for the Maldives. When someone does a good thing we have to appreciate it, either the person who did it was bad or good. I think its wrong that the present government is sort of taking some revenge against Maumoon showing of their personal hatred against him by lifting up Nasir so much and opening up some case against Maumoon in court almost every other day. I wonder how Anni would be remembered when he is gone!

  9. I agree with Ahmed, the whole affair with Nasir ofcourse is family affair's to Anni. Distant relatives.

  10. Stop renaming everything, honestly its rather confusing.
    Don't you have anything better to do??? This is such a waste of time ! What is wrong with the cabinet??
    Suppose this is what happens when you pick stupid eejits with no relevant qualifications as cabinet members. This is as far as their pea brains can go.


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